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Review: foreign fiction roundup

Author: David Mills
Newspaper: Th Sunday Times
Date: Jul 28 2018
URL: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/magazine/culture/review-foreign-fiction-roundup-convenience-store-woman-the-sacco-gang-vernon-subutex-two-the-day-the-sun-died-an-untouched-house-lgnm0cpbz

The Sacco Gang by Andrea Camilleri (Europa £9.99) could only be Sicilian. Set in the west of the island in the early decades of the last century, this historical novel from the author the Inspector Montalbano series, translated by Stephen Sartarelli, tells the true story of the Sacco family, successful entrepreneurial farmers who refuse to toe the local mafia’s line. Using the historical present, it is written in a straight, almost deadpan style (“On the seventh of May 1922, Giovanni and Alfonso go to the Carabinieri compound…”) combined with an easygoing folksiness (“But there was the mafia. Boy, was there ever!”). It has a gripping immediacy, telling an epic tale in a series of gobsmacking anecdotes. You will be enraged at the injustice of what the Saccos endure at the hands of the mafia and the impotent forces of the state. I defy anyone not to read it in one sitting.